I really loved the ‘As the Crow Flies’ article, I was fascinated by the way Fielder tracks the ideas of the crow and the Flying Africans throughout folkore and literature, and the way she brought out the much more rich and nuanced traditions of the racialized anthropomorphized animal. It made me think about a question that’s always on my mind around what do fantasy and folklore stories do for us individually and societally. She points out that one of the things the Flying Africans stories do is provide a sense of hope and freedom beyond the current physical, day to day realities that are in front of us. Is that part of the draw of fantastical stories in general, to give us hope? Why are animals, and particularly anthropomorphized animals so potent in that?
I was also really interested in this idea that both articles get to around racialized animals in story telling, and how they unspool both the racists/stereotypical readings as well as the more forward thinking ways that racilizing animals helps us see our own societies and possibilities better. I was considering that in relation to the Kinship keyword that I presented on as well as the Phelps article from last week that was talking about the importance in posthumanism of the distinctions between animals (human and non). I wonder if racializing animals helps uphold an important dichotomy of both othering and kinship – we see animals as both like and unlike us as well as like and unlike our current systems of power, which helps us complicate the narratives of both. I would like to see Fraustino in conversation with these texts – how would she feel that these forms of anthropomorphism that help us pull apart and consider racial dynamics act on the animals themselves?
I love the idea of putting these into conversation with Fraustino & I appreciate your interest in fantastic narratives here too…great questions! CH